I’m at my sister’s in Bristol for a much needed mini break as part of ‘being kind to myself’. I’ve slotted into her family life and am drifting along finding it difficult to switch off.
On the first evening we went swimming despite my crippling fatigue. I’m glad I did as 20 minutes splashing around in water was a respite from overthinking and I felt like I’d taken a step towards a new start.
On Friday daytime I mostly napped. Absolutely shattered and emotionally drained. I’ve been trying not to do this because of the awful insomnia, but this time I couldn’t stop.
This recharge meant in the afternoon I could go out with the boys and into the centre.
Bristol Biennial Is in full swing so our first stop was Liz West’s exhibition Our Colour at the Pithay.
As you can see we loved it. It’s basically the 4th floor of a disused office building bathed in coloured lights to make the full rainbow spectrum. There’s nothing more to it which makes it strangely wonderful. We chose to sit in different parts to see how it made us feel. I loved watching people of all ages react to the colour zones.
What was most interesting was seeing where people were drawn. Most people seemed to congregate in the extremes. Calm and laying down in the purple at one end, or bathed in neon pink at the other whilst standing and taking it all in.
When we left we chatted about how good it is when you can experience installations and art freely. There’s no constraints in these spaces and no rules on how to act like in traditional galleries and arts events. Theo had the freedom to roam and react and we thought nothing of lying flat on the floor to take pictures.
It was like full on colour therapy for the soul and made me realise one part of myself. I am a huge seeker of beauty in the world and love to experience visual art. It makes me feel curious and excited and feeds me energy.
To take part in this I needed my spoons. But by taking out the strains of work I was free to enjoy and explore. My goal for this month will be to seek more beauty without the guilt of not working!
…Is the phrase everyone keeps saying over and over. Most because they’ve been there and know the pain and moved on.
So this marks day 12 since heartbreak. My problem with it is it’s not linear. It doesn’t ease with the day but bounces around. I’m ok for a couple of hours then the sick pain returns in my chest. If everyday got slightly better I may be able to handle it. There seem to be major stages I return to. I’ll try to describe them.
Overthinking – I keep catching myself here. My brain gets stuck in moments from the past. Beautiful memories that create pain such as swimming in the sea, throwing pizza off cliffs, birthday cakes and drunken conversations. Moments of absolute trust and intimacy that will never happen again. Then there’s the future that you planned and dreamed of. Yesterday I went to IKEA with my sister and everything seemed like a painful reminder that I don’t have a future. Well I do but not the one I planned and nurtured. My beautiful home that there’s no point in building. All these things to buy but I don’t want. Holidays and memories that won’t happen again. I know I can hear you saying they will but I am mourning the loss of them not being the same. Places in which I was so happy and secure.
Numbness – so stay in the present is the advice. The present is now and where we live and mostly it’s ok and a distraction. It’s better with others around but it feels like a slog. Partly I feel complete and utter exhaustion. I’m trying to figure out if this is emotional or part of chronic illness as I often feel like this without the huge life changing stresses. It leads to complete apathy and numbness. One of my biggest strengths is my ability to see the beauty in the world and all of a sudden it seems like an ugly place. Even driving into the spectacular Malvern hills I couldn’t muster a wow. Instead they become a wall of darkness, like a prison preventing me seeing the world.
Crisis – Both of the above patterns seem to lead to this. It is the absolute worst state to be in. Utter dispair takes over and your brain is flooded with dangerous thoughts. Completely emotionally overwhelmed I panic and my brain works at a million miles an hour. The frantic questions pour out and I just want it all to stop. This is the bit that exhausts me, taking everything left. I try to reach out to people but I don’t want to hear their advice. I claw at anything I can to keep me from drowning. I fear this place and it creeps up unexpectedly.
Irritability – or is it plain anger? Anger that I was duped and lied to. Anger that I had this snatched away without a chance. Anger at myself for being fat and ill. Irritable at others for their words of wisdom and saying what’s true but not always comfortable. I found this on the Pacifica app I previously mentioned. I vent in a forum then get a response which is harsh but true.
I love and hate this advice in equal measure. The truth you don’t want to hear.
So today my plan was to recognise all this and pick myself up to something stronger and with future. To heal and be kind. To build a future even if it doesn’t have shape or form yet…